Castiel isn’t sure how long he’s loved Dean Winchester. He only realized what loving a human being meant when he became a human 3 years ago. He didn’t think an angel could feel emotions such as love, but Dean has been showing him what it means to have emotions long before he ever was human.
Love to Castiel isn’t make out sessions or a romantic date night. Love to him is worrying that Dean made it out of his latest hunt okay, worrying that Dean has had enough to eat today and that he isn’t drinking himself to death. Love is wishing he could go home to the bunker every night and making sure Dean makes it safely into his comfortable bed instead of being tied up by a monster or falling asleep on the cold, hard floor with 6 empty beer bottles next to him in the middle of doing research. Love is wanting to hug Dean Winchester and tell him that his life is valuable.
From the first time Castiel met Dean while occupying a vessel he realized that Dean didn’t see much value in his life. He didn’t think he deserved to be saved. Castiel has always thought Dean Winchester deserved all the saving in the world. Dean has taught him more in 9 years than angels have taught him in thousands. He wants to tell Dean all of this, but Dean doesn’t like to talk about these things.
As the ache in his heart grows harder, Castiel’s need to tell Dean how he feels grows stronger. But how? Dean always taught him to lie and pretend everything was okay even though it wasn’t. But why wasn’t it okay? Love is a good feeling isn’t it? But it has to be shared. How could he not share his love for Dean?
So one day Sam and Dean come home to the bunker from a 3-day hunt, and Castiel is waiting in Dean’s bedroom.
“Dammit Cas! Could’ve called a guy first before showing up in his damn room unexpected!”, Dean says after a startle from realizing the angel was sitting on the bed in his dark room that he had expected to be empty.
“I….I’m sorry Dean. I just….I’ve been thinking….”
“About what, Cas?”
“About…everything. Human emotions. I never thought it was possible to experience them as an angel. And yet…I do. I think even before I ever experienced being a human.”
“Yeah, that’s great, Cas. Human emotions friggin suck. Welcome to the club.”
Castiel can’t tell if Dean is avoiding emotional subjects or if he just really wants to go to bed. Castiel sometimes forgets what it’s like to feel tired. Emotionally, he’s always tired, but he doesn’t actually have to sleep, unlike Dean.
“If you’d like to sleep I’ll leave you be. I’m sorry for bothering you. Goodnight Dean.”
“No, no Cas, you’re not bothering me. Where’s all this coming from? If something’s bothering you, you can always tell me, you know that, right?”
Castiel considers this for a moment. Here it was: the perfect opportunity to tell Dean exactly how he felt.
“Dean….I’m in love with humanity. I’m in love with all of this beautiful existence of my father’s creation. It’s truly incredible…but I don’t think I’d have even come to see it without meeting you. I gave up heaven to watch the bees and gaze upon gorgeous sunsets on earth, and I gave up heaven for you. I rebelled for you. It took me just until now to realize that I’ve done all of this because I love you. I love you Dean. You don’t have to say it back….I know you don’t like to talk about how you feel….”
“It’s okay Dean, I understand. I just thought you should know.”
“No….Cas….You deserve better than that. You deserve better that me.”
“Don’t say that….maybe I don’t want better than you. To be completely honest, I don’t believe there is better than you. At least not for me. You’re a hero Dean, you’ve changed the world for many humans, and even an angel. You should see the value in that.”
“I just….I think I need to get some sleep. Think things over. This is a lot, Cas.”
“I know Dean, I know. I’ll let you get some sleep. Just….call me when you’re ready.”
As Castiel goes to open the bedroom door, he feels Dean grab him by the arm of his trench coat.
“Cas- wait. Don’t go. Just stay. Stay until morning and we can talk some more then.”
And with that, Dean climbs into bed and lays his head on his pillow, and Cas climbs on top of the covers and sits next to him, watching him fall asleep, watching his back move up and down with every sleepy breath, and waits. He doesn’t mind waiting, he loves seeing Dean like this- comfortable, home, safe, and beside him. Castiel loves Dean.